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A Pleasant Walk Among The Noble Trees With… Ben Rice

Benjamin Rice

Benjamin Rice, 2017-18 Louisiana Tech SGA president and, during the final week of August, sworn in as the student member of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.

“I was born in Shreveport but attended 7th-12th grades in Carrollton, Texas, at Newman Smith High School and graduated in 2014. My childhood and college are in Louisiana, and my formative high school years were in Texas, so I’m definitely a mutt and don’t know how exactly to classify myself. The truth is, when I’m in Louisiana, I say I’m a Texan, and when I’m in Texas, I’m a proud Louisianan because it’s always more fun being from a different state!

“Every time I say that my major is English lit, I always get an ‘eyebrow raise’ and a funny look from whomever I’m talking with. I’ve always been a reader—my bookshelf is my prized possession. You always hear ‘do what you love,’ and I love the reading I get to do. Plus, I get to hone my reading/writing skills that I plan to use in law school so it all just makes sense.

“I do have a Spanish minor so every time I meet someone new I always tell them they can call me arroz because that means ‘rice’ in Spanish. I love my Spanish minor, but I recently added an economics minor as well which isn’t as fun but it may be a little more practical.

“I’m a fourth generation Tech student. My great-grandpa played football at Tech in the 1940s, my grandpa met my grandma in the infirmary on campus, my mom was on homecoming court and an Orientation Student Leader in the early 1990s, my dad was on the cheer team and Champ the Bulldog for a few years (not sure if I’m allowed to divulge that info, but I love sharing it), plus I have a few dozen cousins and aunts and uncles who have walked the pleasant walks under the noble trees. You can definitely say Tech is in my blood. My mom, Paige Sears (nee Hazlip) lives in Carrollton, Texas, my dad is Marshall Rice and lives in Baton Rouge, and my sister, Hannah, is about to be a sophomore at Tech.

“Why I joined SGA is pretty simple, although maybe a bit cliché. I felt that there was just a general apathy on campus when it came to student-led change, and I thought I could help fix that in SGA. Every student could tell you something they’d change at Tech—whether it’s small like they want more flowers, or it’s big like we need a parking garage—but very few of those students see SGA as the avenue they should approach to have their voices heard on the 16th floor —  although we are exactly who they should come to. For instance, BSU could tell you what they want and so could IFC, Panhellenic, faith-based orgs, etc, but SGA should be the one to consolidate all of those ‘wants’ and bring them to the meetings in Wyly, and that is what I love about this job. I wanted to be in SGA so I could be the one to elevate those student voices, and to help push Tech towards being a truly nationally elite school that I know we will be. Dr. Guice always cites the study that found Tech to be one of the schools that could potentially challenge the ‘elites’ by 2030, and I find that truly exciting; I want to do all that I can to help push us there.

“My spot on the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors means that I am the one student on the 16-member board who makes decisions regarding all nine schools in our system. All of the board members have the students and the future of Louisiana in mind, but I am the one who is most inextricably linked to the students because I am the only one that actually interacts with students on a day-to-day basis. Making decisions for all 90,000 students is intimidating in so many ways, but it’s a challenge I look forward to. I ran for the position and was chosen by the other eight SGA presidents in our system. Adarian Williams, also from our system from just down the road at Grambling State, represents the students on the Board of Regents, and I am very excited to work with him throughout the year.

… with Teddy Allen